NEW YORK (CBS Local) – As regulations crack down on the dangers of cigarette smoke, a new study is warning that many parents are undoing all of this progress by exposing their children to secondhand marijuana smoke.

The Details:

  • A study says more parents are smoking marijuana around their children
  • Researchers point to the decriminalization of marijuana for the change
  • The study warns that children are being exposed to more secondhand smoke because of higher marijuana use 

According to researchers from Columbia University, the number of cigarette-smoking parents who said they used marijuana increased from 11 percent in 2002 to over 17 percent in 2015. “Overall, cannabis use is much more common among cigarette-smoking parents versus nonsmokers, but it is increasing in both groups,” lead researcher Renee Goodwin said, via UPI.

That being said, fewer people were found to be smoking tobacco products in recent years, including parents. Researchers found that tobacco cigarette use has fallen by seven percent during the decade-long survey. Some of the credit for the decline likely goes to stricter laws on cigarettes, which have reduced the places smokers can light up and cut down on nicotine within the products.

The study adds that as tobacco laws increase, states have loosened the laws governing marijuana use. Dr. Karen Wilson says the ability for more parents to smoke pot legally could create a dangerous environment for children breathing in secondhand smoke. “We do suspect kids exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, their nicotine receptors are primed to make them more susceptible to cigarette smoking,” Wilson said. “It’s too early to say whether the same is true for marijuana smoke.”

Whether marijuana smoke is as addictive as tobacco smoke may be up for debate, but the damage from inhaling it has already been studied. A recent study by biologist Matthew Springer found that marijuana smoke is three times worse for the arterial walls than cigarette smoke.